Lady Toppers stomp competition opening Hilltopper Classic, WKU begins weekend undefeated

WKU pitcher Kelsey Aikey (12) throws out a strike against Indiana state university on Feb 27, 2021 at the WKU softball field. The Hilltoppers defeated the sycamore 6-0 in the Hilltopper Classic to get their first at home victory.

Jake Moore

WKU Softball (6-1) opened its first home series of the season at the Hilltopper Classic on Saturday. 

The Hilltoppers won their first match of the day against the Indiana State Sycamores by a score of 6-0 and followed it up with another win against the Bowling Green State Falcons 8-0 by way of mercy rule to cap off the evening.

Indiana State (1-6)

The Hilltoppers were led by the arm of redshirt senior Kelsey Aikey, who kept the Sycamores hitless for four and two-thirds innings and struck out eight batters in a complete game shut-out. The infield defense also played well, backing up Aikey to prevent a handful of scorching line drives from turning into hits. 

A scary moment occurred in the bottom of the third when redshirt sophomore Kennedy Sullivan left the game after stepping on first base awkwardly. Sullivan went down in pain but was able to walk off the field with assistance. She would not return to the lineup for the rest of the day.

WKU would score its first run on a solo home run to left field by redshirt senior Paige Carter that bounced off the parking garage. The Hilltoppers would score another run in the second inning after a single from redshirt freshman TJ Webster brought home redshirt junior Maddie Bowlds. 

WKU would extend its lead to 4-0 in the third after a two-run double from redshirt junior Kendall Smith. A sacrifice fly from redshirt freshman Taylor Sanders to score redshirt sophomore Princess Valencia and a Paige Carter groundout to score Webster pushed the lead to 6-0.

Indiana State couldn’t muster anything to counter WKU’s offense and the Hilltoppers improved their record against the Sycamores to 3-0 on the season.

Bowling Green State (6-5)

The second matchup of the day looked like it would be a pitcher’s duel until the fourth inning. 

Redshirt junior Shelby Nunn kept the Falcons in check, but the Hilltoppers struggled to heat up their bats. WKU was able to load the bases in the bottom of the third, but both teams remained scoreless through three innings before the home team broke through with a six-run rally in the bottom of the fourth.

A single from Maddie Bowlds brought home redshirt sophomore Jordan Ridge to break the scoring drought, and a bases-clearing double from redshirt junior Jordan Thomas extended the lead to 4-0.

A no-doubter home run into the first floor of the parking garage in left center field by redshirt freshman Taylor Sanders brought Thomas in from second and the Hilltoppers ended the inning up 6-0. 

The Hilltoppers would lock down the mercy-rule victory after back-to-back RBI singles from Maddie Bowlds and TJ Webster to set the score to 8-0. Shelby Nunn would finish the shortened game with a shut-out as well as six strikeouts.

The Hilltoppers will be back in action Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. for a rematch against Bowling Green State followed by another contest with Indiana State at 3 p.m.

Softball beat reporter Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.